My Franklin planner has this inspirational quote for today by Albert Einstein. “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”
This thought raises the question, “What really counts in life?”
This question has been answered in different ways by many people.
In Lessons Learned in Life, Brigitte Nicole wrote, “Never define yourself by your relationship status, your income, or your looks. It’s your generosity, your kindness, and your compassion that counts.”
The late Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa once observed, “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”
The great British Prime Minister Winston Churchill once said, “Success is not final. Failure in not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.”
“It isn’t where you came from, it’s where you’re going that counts,” opined the famed American Jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald.
In his daily devotion, blogger Greg Laurie tells the story of a young missionary, fresh out of college, who lost his life in the jungles of Ecuador trying to reach people with the gospel. After his death this entry was found in his journal. “I seek not a long life, but a full one, like you Lord Jesus.”
“That is a good goal: to live a full life, a life with meaning and purpose, Greg wrote. “We don’t know how long we will live; that’s up to God. But life isn’t merely a matter of years. It’s a matter of how we live. It isn’t the years that count but what you do with those years.”
Depending on your point of view and frame of reference, there are many different ways to answer this simple question “What counts?”
The Bible presents the picture of a wise and wealthy man in Ecclesiastes who searched for the meaning of life. He withheld nothing. Through his labor he enjoyed success. He ate. Drank. Laughed. And lived well. Every pleasure and experience he desired was within his grasp.
As he reflected on life and “saw that it was good” and “was from the hand of God” he also realized that all of life’s possessions and pleasures were fleeting and transitory. And in the midst of living the good life there was still corruption, injustice and sorrow. His knowledge could not eliminate the ignorance of the unlearned, nor could his wisdom eradicate the stupidity of the fool.
Furthermore it was apparent that all of humankind share a common event. The young and old. The success and the failure. The rich and the poor. The wise man and the fool. All die. And “the mourners go about the streets.”
Thus, his advice is well heeded, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom” (Eccl. 9:10).
So, what really counts in life?
The wise man, after all his experiences, and thoughtful observations, came to this one simple conclusion. “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”
And why would He say that?
“For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Eccl. 12;13-14).
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Realize what really counts cannot be counted by the world’s method of counting.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman